This presents a challenge to internet search companies…

  • 1. This presents a challenge to internet search companies, which have built a multibillion dollar industry out of targeted advertising based on the information users reveal about them online.
  • 2. Over the past year, a series of privacy gaffes and government attempts to gain access to the internet user's online histories have, along with consolidation among online search and advertising groups, thrust the issue of internet privacy into the spotlight.
  • 3. However, that may be changing.
  • 4. In the lobby of an internet search engine company's headquarters in California, computer screens displays lists of words being entered into the company's search engine.
  • 5. Although it’s says that the system is designed to filter out any scandalous or potentially compromising queries, the fact that even a fraction of searcher can be seen by visitors to the world's biggest search company is likely to come as a shock to internet users who think of web browsing as a private affair.
  • 6. People generally believe that using a search engine is the equivalent of talking to a priest or a rabbi, “says Larry Ponemon, head of the Ponemon Institute, a privacy think-tank. “The public in general doesn’t seem to fully understand how their privacy may be at risk.
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